We've got a bumper crop of beans this year - and one of our all-time favourite preserves is Dilly Beans. Crisp, deeply dill - and if you include the chile pepper, with a real kick at the finish! Our neighbour's kid loves them so much, we've promised him his own jar for Christmas!
Pack 2 pounds of green beans, standing up, in sterile 500 ml (1 pint) jars. Be sure to leave 1/4" of air at the top.
Into each jar, put:
1 small chile pepper (optional)
1 clove of garlic
1 head of fresh dill (or 1-1/2 tbsp dill seed)
Bring to a boil:
2-1/2 c. water
2-1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 c. salt
Pour the resulting liquid over the beans (leave 1/4”). Seal the jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. This last part is where the food is genuinely preserved, free of bacteria, for safe long-term storage: don't skimp on it!
If you're not sure about this part, there's lots of good information online that can help you decide on what equipment you need, basic sterilizing processes and so on. One very thorough website that explains everything beginners and veterans alike need to know, is at Hobby Farms.
The beans can be eaten immediately, or of course stored for later consumption. Dilly Beans also make great gifts, either on their own, or as part of a larger gift basket!